Thursday, August 11, 2005

'Mystical Communion,' Eh?

I've calmed down after initially taking the quiz to see which model of church I like the best. I took issue with the result because of the last line: 'This model can exalt the church beyond what is appropriate, but can be supplemented with other models.' Of course, I paid too much attention to the first part at the time, without proper regard for the second. If you notice, Sacramental Model and Servant Model also scored fairly high. Institutional scored pitifully. That's how I like it.

The Mystical Communion Model 'includes both People of God and Body of Christ.' The statement is not very descriptive at first glance. How detailed can any of these blurbs get? But if one considers why one might have to use both phrases intentionally is to suggest that there is some difference, and to use the word 'both' is to say that one doesn't necessarily include the other, or mean the other. My take is that 'People of God' is more an earthy term, a 'real life' term. Calvin differentiates between the Visible and Invisible Church, and perhaps saying People of God is to speak of the Visible. The church is made up of real people, flesh and blood, created by God. It is a real gathering of believers. Body of Christ, then, would be the Invisible, the mystical, the intangible bond that we have with one another and with Christ.

'The church is essentially people in union with Christ and the Father through the Holy Spirit.' Hey, did I call that or what? I have a slightly different take on the Trinity than what is offered here, but this line speaks of our unity with Christ. I have my first baptism this Sunday, and I'm preaching on this very theme. We are united in baptism with Christ and with one another...and then I slip in that while we are united, we are not uniform.

'Both lay people and clergy are drawn together in a family of faith.' The questions that were asked on the quiz about the office and role of pastor were generally answered with a low view. Who am I to claim ultimate authority or that I keep God's Word in a box on my desk to be dispensed like candy? I don't see myself that way. Instead, I see myself as a fellow pilgrim, called to guide others yet fully aware that I need guidance myself.

I'm glad that this model can be supplemented with other models. The Sacrament model has an element of transformation to it, which I appreciate. The Servant model is the one of which I am particularly fond for its emphasis on mission (that's a guess; I've not seen the description). A large part of one's communion with Christ is communion with others. Jesus placed the two greatest commandments together for a reason.